Batu Kitang rep slams MOE for being slow to give approval for school renovation using RTP funds

A screengrab of Lo joining in the debate over the TYT's address which was livestreamed by Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas).

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 19: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang has taken a shot at the federal Ministry of Education (MOE) for dragging its feet in approving the renovation of facilities for a school in his constituency using Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) funds.

When debating the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak’s address, Lo said that he had initially allocated RM200,000 from his RTP allocation for SJK Chung Hua Chong Nam at Mile 8.5 Jalan Batu Kitang to convert its basketball court into classrooms as there was a classroom shortage to meet the demands of a growing student population.

“But I was told that the school needed to get the green light from the federal Education Department (sic) in order to carry out this project.

“However, till today, we are still waiting for approval. This is most unfortunate,” he said in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

The federal government, Lo claimed, has siphoned RM80 billion of Sarawak’s oil and gas, but returned only the minimal, while the allocation from the federal government was barely enough to meet the needs of schools and education development in the State.

“Now that we decided to use our own RTP allocation to make life easier for the school, we were told that we need to seek their permission and approval first.

“I strongly urge the federal government to give Sarawak’s autonomy on education back to Sarawak along with the funds allocated for Sarawak so that we can run our schools and syllabus better, instead of having to wait for their approval which could take months,” he said.

Lo also claimed there were no such issues in the past until Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the federal government for 22 months which saw not only billions of ringgit in projects terminated, but promises on the return of autonomy on education and health were never realised.

“It was a dark period for Sarawak. I applaud the Premier (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) for holding onto the reins to reengineer Sarawak’s economy and he has brought Sarawak to a new level of financial independence.

“The entire population of Sarawak have realised how important it is for all in Sarawak to stick together under GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak). As the saying goes, unity is strength and GPS’ winning of 76 out of 82 seats in PRN12 (12th Sarawak Election) is proof of GPS’ solid foundation, unity and strength,” he added. — DayakDaily